Healing the Hurt is a Rotary Club of Melbourne Centenary Project
Beginning as a response to the Victorian Commission on Family Violence in 2017, the Healing the Hurt project focused on the needs of children who live in traumatic situations. While there are numerous agencies and therapists who support families, they lack the specialised training to treat trauma.
The Rotary Club of Melbourne funded the training of 33 therapists from 12 agencies in the not-for-profit sector to learn how to use EMDR (Eye Movement & Desensitisation) Therapy which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for treating children with traumatic memories.
In 2018, 18 therapists from Foundation House (the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture) were trained by Dr Derek Farrell from Trauma Aid Europe who donated six days of training for the cost of an airfare.
In 2020, another 18 child therapists from Gatehouse (the Centre Against Sexual Assault at Royal Children’s Hospital) received training from Dr Sarah Schubert, an internationally recognised EMDR scholar in treating children with traumatic memories.
Considering that most child therapists who work in agencies will see up to 500 children and their families every year, almost 35,000 children now have access to evidence-based treatment.
The Healing the Hurt program has partnered with the Rotary Action Group for Family Safety to create the Trauma Recovery Network Australia (TRNA) www.traumarecovery.network , which follows the model of humanitarian work by EMDR therapists internationally who volunteer their time after disasters to provide high level trauma intervention for first responders and support overwhelmed community services as needed.
Formed after the Victorian Bushfires of 2019/2020, the Trauma Recovery Network has been able to provide EMDR Therapy through telehealth to people affected by the bushfires. As part of the Government Bushfire Recovery Program, EMDR therapy was added to the Medicare list of Focused Psychological Strategies available for funding.
The TRNA has been awarded a grant from the District 9800 and 9780 Bushfire Appeal fund to provide EMDR training to therapists who live and work in the bushfire areas to build capacity for ongoing trauma treatment within the community.